Westpac closes doors in Foxton

CHRIS HYDE
Last updated 11:09 01/01/2014

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Foxton's Westpac branch will close in a matter of weeks despite a petition and a last-ditch plea to the bank from the Horowhenua District Council to save it.

The Main St branch, which has been operating out of a container for the past two years after its original building was deemed earthquake-prone, is understood to be shutting its doors for the final time at the end of January.

Kiwibank has a presence inside New Zealand Post but Westpac is the only dedicated banking branch in the town and it has an after hours ATM on site.

Horowhenua district councillor Michael Feyen said if Westpac had listened to the community it would have stayed in Foxton, but the writing was on the wall from the moment it told staff it was considering closure.

"I'm not even sure how many signatures the petition got in the end but it wasn't likely to make a difference.

"I think history has shown that once a big Aussie bank makes its mind up about something there's nothing that can be done to change it.

"Everyone in town is really unhappy because there was no consultation with us."

The bank had a catchment area of 7000 people who were all dependent on the services it had provided, and because it was right beside the De Molen windmill it was an important asset for tourists as well, Mr Feyen said.

"I know David Clapperton [Horowhenua District Council's chief executive] had a real go at trying to talk to them but the end result has been the same.

"We've got a lot going for us but Westpac couldn't see it."

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- Manawatu Standard

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